DETROIT — The Patriots’ third exhibition game, on Thursday night against the Lions, was oddly reminiscent of the last time New England played its third exhibition here, in 2011.
In both, considered dress rehearsals for starters, the Patriots’ offense struggled mightily against the Lions’ top defense, this year anchored by tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.
On Thursday night, the Patriots committed four first-half turnovers and converted just 1 of 7 third-down opportunities before intermission, though the Lions’ own offensive struggles meant New England trailed just 16-3 at the half.
But the Patriots’ second- and third-string defenses let the game get away in the second half, resulting in a 40-9 loss at Ford Field. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.